Gwent ‘Lethal Highs’ School Lesson rolled out to all year 7 pupils across Wales
Today, Wednesday 24th February 2016, Members of the Welsh Assembly, Chief Officers from Welsh Police Forces, representatives from Torfaen Communities First and Gwent Comprehensive School drama students joined together at the Senedd in Cardiff to launch the lesson plan, ‘Lethal Highs’ across Wales.
The lesson plan and educational film warns children of the dangers of ‘Legal Highs’ now referred to as New Psychoactive Substances. The DVD which is based on real life events is now used as part of a formal lesson plan delivered by School Community Police Officers in Gwent and has the full support of the Health and Social Care Committee of the National Assembly for Wales.
Since September 2015, 142 ‘Lethal High’ lessons have taken place in Comprehensive Schools across Gwent with 3,518 year 7 pupils (aged 11-12 years) receiving the ‘Lethal Highs’ lesson plan and viewing the ‘Lethal Highs’ film.
Leading on the initiative, Cwmbran PC, Jennie Tinsley said: “The film catalogues the effects and consequences of taking the drug – on the boy’s life and that of his family and friends – and how he recovers. Working together with the children, Torfaen Communities First and Zoom Cymru we have been conscious that the film meets the objectives of challenging youngsters’ perception of so called legal highs and raise awareness of the detrimental effects of taking the substances. The film was great fun to make and it was important that local children were involved throughout”
The DVD was funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner using cash seized from criminals and from the sale of unclaimed found property to make a positive difference in communities.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: The production of the film was funded through the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent’s Partnership Fund which uses cash seized from criminals and from the sale of unclaimed found property to support projects which make a positive difference in Gwent communities.
“These are very dangerous substances and this film aims to highlight the risks. I would encourage young people to make the most of this production. These psychoactive substances pose a serious threat to the health and safety of people in our communities and I’m delighted that the money from our Partnership Fund has been spent on such a worthwhile educational project which could help save lives. We want to send out the clearest possible message that the trade in these substances is reckless and that these substances can be dangerous to people’s health – even fatal. Projects such as this one are absolutely key to my aim of reducing crime in Gwent by tackling the underlying causes of offending.”
Gwent Police Deputy Chief Constable, Craig Guildford says: “The ‘Lethal Highs’ lessons have been well received by Gwent pupils and is seen by teachers and behavioural support practitioners as a welcome and necessary addition to the substance misuse lessons that are part of the PSE curriculum. The lesson looks at the contradiction in legal but unsafe substances and advances knowledge and understanding of the dangers surrounding New Psychoactive Substances, promoting further discussion around other social issues and the impact of social media.
“The lesson is appropriate to the age of the pupils and follows a natural progression to the lessons covered in year 6. The lesson allows our School Community Police Officers the opportunity to fully explain the law and the changing laws in relation to this issue and the vital message that ‘just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s safe’.”
David Rees AM, Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’s Health and Care Committee said: “The National Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee has been proud to host Gwent Police for the launch of its new film and educational tool. Education and the need for greater awareness-raising was a key theme that emerged during our inquiry into new psychoactive substances, and I am pleased to see this initiative being taken forward.”
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